Three OPP shot, one killed in Bourget shooting

Par Christine Laniel
Three OPP shot, one killed in Bourget shooting

Alain Bellefeuille, 39, of Bourget is charged with first-degree murder and also two counts of attempted murder. He remains in police custody.

Police responded to a call around 2 a.m. Thursday to reports of gunshots in the Clarence-Rockland village. The three responding officers were shot by an individual at a Laval Street home. All three were taken to hospital.

One officer died, one has since been released from hospital, and the third remains in hospital in critical but stable condition, according to OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique who described the incident as an ambush.

Following the shooting of the three officers, other officers arrived on scene and were able to apprehend the suspect. A 39-year-old male suspect was taken into custody without injuries, said Carrique. An OPP incident brief later identified the man as Bellefeuille.

Carrique identified the officer killed as Sergeant Eric Mueller in a Tweet, Thursday morning.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that I regretfully advise that OPP Sgt. Eric Mueller has been killed in the line of duty. We anxiously await for further word on his fellow officers who are still at hospital. Our thoughts are with the officers, their families and colleagues,“ read the tweet from the commissioner’s account.

One officer has since been released from hospital and is recovering at home, while the other remains in stable but critical condition, as of Thursday evening, May 11, according to Carrique.

Carrique described Mueller as an exemplary officer, a coach, mentor and someone everyone looked up to.

Police did not state what they believe to be the motivation behind the attack, despite describing the incident as an ambush.

A long gun was found in the home, however, police have not yet identified the specific type of weapon used in the shooting.

Residents unsettled

Though most residents were fast asleep when the shooting occurred, many recounted having at least heard the sirens go through the small village.

Madison Bach, who lives just up the street from where the shooting occurred, said her husband heard a noise but thought nothing of it.

“It’s very shocking and a little unsettling that this happened so close to us,” said Bach the morning of the shooting after waking up to see a line of police cars on her street.

Bach said Bourget is such a quiet and remote place that it’s hard to believe something like this could happen there.

“It really makes you re-evaluate things.”

Robbyn Annett-Laub, who works at Ramigab’s Resto-Bar, said she pretty much knows everyone in town, but didn’t know who lived in the house where the shooting occurred.

“This place is very quiet,” Annett-Laub told reporters Thursday morning. “Do I have to lock my doors at night all the time now? We don’t know.”

In an emailed statement, Clarence-Rockland Mayor Mario Zanth said he was saddened by the news and offered the full support of the city as the OPP investigate.

“There are no words that can express the pain that the residents of the City of Clarence-Rockland are feeling at this time,” said Zanth.

“We have a very close relationship with the Ontario Provincial Police and our hearts go out to them,” he said. “I wish to offer my deepest condolences to the family and fellow officers.”

The flags at city hall will be flown at half-mast. Alfred-Plantagenet Township, Casselman, Hawkesbury, Russell Township and the surrounding municipalities also lowered their flags.

Police say there is no risk to public safety. Residents seeking assistance are asked to call 2-1-1.

Anyone who witnessed or has video of the shooting incident is asked to contact the police at 1-888-310-1122 or call the CrimeStoppers confidential tips line at 1-800-222-8477.

The OPP is providing assistance to the family of Sgt. Mueller and to any of his colleagues to deal with the trauma of his death. Funeral arrangement details are in progress and the OPP ask for the public to «respect the wishes of Eric’s family for privacy as they grieve.»

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